C&R launches fiction list with a free spirit

<p>The latest book by the author of mash-up hit <em>Pride and Prejudice and Zombies</em> will launch Corsair, Constable &amp; Robinson&rsquo;s new fiction imprint from former Harvill Secker associate editor James Gurbutt. </p><p>He said the imprint has been named Corsair &ldquo;to indicate free spirit&rdquo; and because Constable was &ldquo;an indie battling it out in corporate seas&rdquo;. He said: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s more the spirit of independence we wish to convey than piracy in the literal sense.&rdquo;</p><p>Corsair will publish one title a month in its first year and launches with Seth Graham-Smith&rsquo;s latest offering: <em>Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter</em>. The book was bought from Cathryn Summerhayes on behalf of Claudia Ballard at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. </p><p>Corsair will publish in April 2010 along with the US publisher, Grand Central. &ldquo;The first draft is in, and it&rsquo;s very, very funny,&rdquo; said Gurbutt. </p><p>The launch book will be followed in May by <em>Pictures of Lily</em>, a second adult novel from Matthew Yorke, who won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize 20 years ago for his d&eacute;but, <em>The March Fence</em>. </p><p>Gurbutt bought the novel, told through the eyes of an adopted teenage girl keen to trace her birth parents, from Andrew Kidd at Aitken Alexander. </p><p>Next summer, Corsair will publish <em>The Seas</em>, a novel by Samantha Hunt, who has been shortlisted for the Orange Prize and has just been awarded the $30,000 Bard Fiction Prize in the US; and Jonathan Dee&rsquo;s <em>The Privileges</em>, a &ldquo;big American novel&rdquo; about the super-rich which is garnering exceptional pre-publication praise. </p><p>Richard Ford has called <em>The Privileges </em>&ldquo;verbally brilliant&rdquo;, with Jonathan Franzen dubbing it &ldquo;cunning, seductive&rdquo; and &ldquo;delicious page by page&rdquo;. Random House will publish in the US. Gurbutt describes the book as &ldquo;incredible&rdquo;.</p><p>&ldquo;American fiction is the hardest thing to do in the UK so the publisher really has to believe in it.&rdquo; <br />Gurbutt joined Constable after his position as associate editor at Harvill Secker was one of those to go during Random House&rsquo;s round of redundancies last spring. </p><p>At the time publisher Nick Robinson said: &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been doing well with our crime fiction, handled by Krystyna Green, and we want to broaden our fiction offering and expand into other areas.&rdquo;</p>